Nobody Knows How I Feel

      Probably the #1 argument of an addict:

     “Wanhhhhh, nobody knows how I feel, wanhhhhh!”

     Um, yeah, they do. It’s called being human. It’s just that other people don’t shoot heroin, smoke crack, or pound a fifth of vodka like a selfish, indulgent pig just because they feel uncomfortable. Imagine that.

     If we are sponsors and we let our sponsees whine about all of their problems and all of their feelings that “nobody understands”, we are terrible sponsors. It is clear that we have not taken Steps and therefore we have no business sponsoring anyone. We are only preventing him or her from getting better. Better yet, we may end up killing them.

     Stop them as soon as the pity-pot materializes and tell them that getting better has nothing to do with their problems and feelings. When they get out of their own way and let go of self-will, they will know what you mean. When God becomes present in their lives, they will realize that most of their ridiculous, petty problems are entirely self-created, that is to say, created out of self – too much of it.

     By the way, when I say created out self, that means that we alone are responsible for creating our problems and feelings. And the more we focus on ourselves and the more selfish we become, the more problems we will have and the worse we will feel. Conversely, the less we focus on ourselves and the less selfish we become, the less problems we will have and the better we will feel. It’s that simple.

God, please help me to align my will with Yours, relieving me of the torture of a life driven by self-will alone…

New Employer

     “When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.63

     Admittedly, it is very difficult to understand something that we haven’t gone through ourselves. Someone who has never felt the paralyzing effects of severe clinical depression will never truly understand it. They might think, Oh they’re just choosing not to get out of bed because they’re f’ing lazy. At the same time, someone with major depression is not doomed, nor do they require medication to lift their depression and function properly once again.

     It’s the same with addiction. People who are non-addicts cannot truly understand what it’s like to experience having ZERO power over drugs and alcohol. At the same time, they may not know what it’s like to have undergone a profound and fundamental change. It is a common perception that sober addicts will forever be teetering on the edge of relapse, forever fending off an undying desire to drink and use drugs. I’ve even been told by some guy at an AA meeting that if I could take a magic pill and be able to drink recreationally like a normal person, then I most certainly would. That was a guy who hasn’t had a spiritual experience.

     The above quote summarizes exactly what happened to me. Once I dropped this lifelong belief that it was only me out there and that I was the only power that could fix me, everything changed. Once we drop our arrogance, our pride and our ego, we become open. Thoroughly and fearlessly taking Steps removed the poison that kept me locked in the darkness, and once it was removed, there was room to let something else come in and fill the empty space.

     I get that it is hard to intellectualize this notion of letting go of my self will to instead be ‘directed’ by God’s will. But it is real and it is possible. Once I gave my whole self to this process, I finally understood what it meant. If we get out of our own way, something much greater and wiser and more powerful than us becomes our ‘driver’, so to speak. When we stop trying to direct and control our own lives, the result is nothing short of a miracle.

     And remarkable things indeed follow.

     Though I left treatment after having a white-light experience, I came home to a war zone of broken relationships, tens of thousands in debt, no job, and a still emaciated and broken body. But I continued the Step process and fought hard to build a new foundation based on spiritual principles. And I was provided with what I needed. And it’s true that we can become less and less interested in ourselves and our selfish needs, wants and desires. In fact, my favorite thing to do still 8 years later is to help others.

     Sure I am still the most selfish idiot that I know, but the point of this ridiculous post is that this DOES work. We can recover, grow new minds, heal our spirits, and never suffer from the thought or desire to drink or use drugs ever again.

God, keep me close to You today…

Non-Spiritual Basis?

     “Whether a person can quit upon a non-spiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.34

     Translation: If you are too far gone, chances are that you cannot recover without the help of God.

      The Big Book also says, “Though there is no way of proving it, we believe that early in our drinking careers most of us could have stopped drinking. But the difficulty is that few alcoholics have enough desire to stop while there is yet time.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.32

     Translation: Before you mutated yourself into a chronic, hopeless drunk, you may have been able to quit without spiritual help. You may have been able to still recover on your own power and self-will… but maybe not, hahaha.

     The Big Book spends the first 43 pages just trying to drill a 1st Step into our heads. There is no moving forward until we know with every cell in our body that we are powerless over drugs and alcohol. We must know that despite all of our brains and talents and skills and other faculties, we cannot fix ourselves. We are not capable of recovering on our own because we have lost the power to do so. We are not capable of recovering without spiritual help. In order for the true alcoholic or drug addict to get better, he must smash the notion that he can get himself better.

     Once we let go and realize that alone we are not powerful enough, then real growth and recovery is possible. Then we can get underneath something and accept that we may need a much greater power to fix us. We have tried for years on our own and we have failed miserably. Only a miracle will fundamentally rewire our brains and restore our hearts and spirits. Isn’t it time to let go of our arrogance? Isn’t time to stop holding onto our pride and ego?

     And even if you could recover on your own, isn’t it better to think this way? Isn’t it better to live with some humility? Giving ourselves too much credit for getting better will lead the addict right back to his warped thinking. He will think,

     Gee, look at me. I’m the man! I got myself all better. Hmmm, maybe I can control my addiction this time since I’m so talented and amazing and powerful…

God, teach me that alone I am useless…

Let Go and Let God

     So here is one of the few good AA slogans, since I promised to make up for bashing so many others in an older entry, AA Slogans.

Let Go and Let God
     Needless to say, this is the essence and the desired result of taking Steps. When I take a 3rd Step, I have become willing to let go of a life driven by self-will. I have decided to no longer be guided by my warped and broken mind. I have essentially given my will over to God, and by promising to take more action, the two hopefully become aligned. The goal is to get my self-will to naturally do God’s will. In other words, I seek to naturally do the right thing, to naturally be honest, helpful, willing, tolerant and loving. In this sense, it’s fine to use as much self-will as I want in order to do God’s will.
     When we addicts begin to worry about ourselves – our feelings, our lives, our financial security, even our hopes and dreams – this is when we have stopped letting go. We have reverted back to self-will and attempting to control our lives. Alcoholics and addicts think they know what’s best for them. We think we know what we should be doing in life. We think we are better directors of our life show, better drivers of our destiny.
     We are terrible at controlling our lives and making decisions. In fact, addict or not, a life driven by self-will can be a total failure. Sure we may accomplish anything and everything in the world, but we may be void of the only thing that matters: peace. What’s the point of anything if we feel empty, angry, anxious, depressed, unsettled, distracted or our hearts are clenched? Who cares what we have, what we own, who we are with, or what we have accomplished?
     A teacher of mine once said, Charlie the only thing that really matters is how you feel inside. And no, he didn’t mean that in the selfish way.
God, please help me let go of self-will, that I may align with Your will…

Self Will vs God’s Will

     When I get out of my own way, what fills the space is God’s will…   
     The only time something becomes impossible is when I become hell bent on getting it. I used to agonize over getting things. I had to have this, become that, change into this, look like that. The more I pushed, the farther away it all went. Trying to grasp too hard, I couldn’t seem to actually get anything.

     I pushed and pushed to become a musician, and the more I pushed, the farther away the record deal got. I pushed and pushed to become an actor, and the more I pushed, the farther away the lead role got. I pushed and pushed to become a writer, and the more I pushed, the more the rejection letters came pouring in. I pushed and pushed to make money, and the more I pushed, the less money I made. I pushed and pushed to become enlightened, and the more I pushed, the more angry, frustrated and depressed I became.

     But when I finally let go of needing to achieve, I found peace. When I stop trying to force my will, everything began to materialize. When I let go of my selfish desires, dreams and hopes, they began to hit me in the face when I wasn’t looking. When I simply let go and focused on doing the right thing in this moment, everything fell into place. When I put all of my ambitions aside and just focused on growing spiritually, I became free.

     Sure I have to work, pay the bills, and put some effort into my art, business and spiritual growth… but when I let go of the outcome, that’s when I feel truly calm. Whatever happens, happens. Whatever doesn’t happen, doesn’t. Whatever comes, comes and whatever goes, goes. Letting go is the best thing I have learned because I don’t care about the outcome anymore.

     Expectation is a form of torture. But forgetting about all the worldly shit I thought I had to achieve and instead accepting God’s will, I am free. And by God’s will, I don’t mean anything in particular. All that means is letting go of my insane need to push and drive and speed and force my way here and there, conquering this or that.

     God’s will, in the simplest terms, is just NOT my own. I simply do what’s right in front of me and the next thing will happen on its own. And when I do actively pursue something, it’s because I have become still and quiet, and my gut tells me that I need to go do this thing. When I wake up and know what I need to do, that is God’s will. When a friend, relative or sponsee calls for help, that is God’s will. When I feel compelled to create something, fix something, get rid of something or attend to something, that is God’s will. When I get out of my own way, what fills the space is God’s will.

Also see: Self Will for God’s Will

God, help me to let go and align with Your will for me…